3:57pm: Cespedes’ agents (he is represented by Roc Nation/CAA Sports) were the ones to initiate discussions about amending the clause, tweets Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. As she rightly points out, having his current club involved in offseason bidding can only serve to increase Cespedes’ ultimate price tag.
3:13pm: The Mets have agreed with recently-acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a modification of the language in his contract that will remove a previous barrier to the team’s ability to re-sign him as a free agent, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.
Previously, the contract called for the employing team (originally, the Athletics) to release him at the expiration of the contract. That would have made Cespedes ineligible for a qualifying offer and would have left his current team with just five days to reach a new agreement upon completion of the World Series. Following that five-day window, the Mets would’ve been ineligible to sign Cespedes until May 15, 2016 under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. (Put concisely, teams cannot re-sign players they released to a Major League deal until the following May.) In that scenario, Cespedes would not have been able to test his market before negotiating with the Mets, making an agreement difficult to work out.
Under the new agreement, Cespedes will be free to sign with the Mets at any point in the offseason, just as he would any other team. It provides him another possible suitor while leaving the team free to re-sign him on the open market.
While the qualifying offer issue may have posed a barrier to reaching such an arrangement between Cespedes and his most recent team, the Tigers, that is no longer an issue. Because Cespedes was traded in mid-season, the Mets are unable to utilize that rule regardless.
In other words, as things stood, the modification appears to be a win-win for player and team. While neither is any more obligated to the other than was the case previously, it is now certainly feasible for New York to pursue a long-term deal with a player who has delivered outstanding results since coming over at the deadline.